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Surprise rise in Henkel's earnings

HENKEL AG, the German maker of Persil detergent, reported an unexpected increase in fourth-quarter earnings on higher sales after an acquisition.

Profit, excluding proceeds from a unit sale, rose 0.8 percent to 249 million euros (US$319 million), or 57 cents a preferred share, from 247 million euros, or 57 cents, a year earlier, Henkel said in a statement handed out to reporters in Dusseldorf yesterday. The results had been expected to fall to 197 million euros, the average estimate of five analysts compiled by Bloomberg News. Sales climbed 11 percent to 3.54 billion euros.

Henkel, whose products range from Loctite glues to Right Guard deodorant, in April acquired most of Imperial Chemical Industries Plc's National Starch and Chemical Co for 2.7 billion pounds (US$3.9 billion) to boost sales of industrial adhesives.

Henkel in the quarter sold its 29 percent stake in United States cleaning-chemicals company Ecolab Inc for about US$2 billion. Including the proceeds, profit rose to 863 million euros.

"The reported figures were better than I expected and it is positive that Henkel met all its annual targets," said Alexander Schlipf, an analyst at Bankhaus Metzler in Frankfurt. Earnings before interest and taxes rose 0.3 percent to 147 million euros.

Revenue in Henkel's adhesives unit, adjusted for currency swings, rose 19 percent to 1.66 billion euros.


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